Government is currently committed to radical reform of the welfare system underpinning social citizenship in Britain. Welfare rights and responsibilities is a response to this, focusing on welfare reform and citizenship. Specifically it explores three issues central to citizenship's social element: provision, membership and the link between welfare rights and responsibilities(conditionality).
Part 1 discusses competing philosophical, political and academic perspectives on citizenship and welfare. Part 2 then moves discussions about social citizenship away from the purely theoretical level, allowing the practical concerns of citizens (particularly those at the sharp end of public provision) to become an integral part of current debates concerning citizenship and welfare. The author gives voice to the 'ordinary' citizens who actually make use of welfare services.
The book offers an accessible overview of contemporary debates about the contested concepts of citizenship and welfare, linking them to recent developments and discussions about the new welfare settlement and values that underpin it. It combines relevant debates within political philosophy, social policy and sociology that relate to social citizenship with recent policy developments.
Welfare rights and responsibilities allows the presently marginalised voices of welfare service users to become a valued element in contemporary debates about the extent of social citizenship and the reform of the welfare state. It is therefore important reading for students and teachers of social policy, sociology and politics. It will further appeal to a wider audience of policy makers and professional social workers with an interest in welfare reform/service users accounts.
Peter Dwyer is a Lecturer in Social Policy, in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds.
Part One: Social scientific accounts: Introduction; Philosophical underpinnings; Liberalism and communitarianism: the individual citizen and the state; Five perspectives on citizenship and welfare; Part Two: Welfare service user accounts: Introduction; Provision; Conditionality; Membership; Conclusion: Citizenship and welfare: principles and practice.